Some construction painters learn their trade through a three- or four-year apprenticeship, although a few local unions have additional time requirements. Through technical instruction, apprentices learn how colours go together; to use and care for tools and equipment, prepare surfaces, mix and match paint, and read blueprints; application techniques; characteristics of different finishes; wood finishing; and safety practices.
After completing an apprenticeship program, construction painters are considered journey workers and may do tasks on their own.
Unions and contractors sponsor apprenticeship programs. The basic qualifications to enter an apprenticeship program are as follows:
Although the vast majority of workers learn their trade informally on the job or through a formal apprenticeship, some contractors offer their own training program. There is no formal educational requirement, but high school courses in English, math, shop, and blueprint reading can be useful. Also, some two-year technical schools offer courses connected to union and contractor organization apprenticeships. Credits earned as part of an apprenticeship program usually count toward an associate’s degree.